HomeQ&AHace ...que versus Llevo

Hace ...que versus Llevo


Hola a todas,

In order to talk about myself, I wanted to say "how long I have been doing something for".

I would like to ask the Native Spanish Speakers how they decide whether to use the construction "Llevo" which means "I've been" or whether to use the alternative construction "Hace.." followed by a number of years followed by "....que + verb in the present tense"?

For example, in my "Collins Book of Conversations" :

Hace cinco años que soy enfermera.

Hace diez años que vivo en España.


Llevo dos años estudiando español.

Llevo seis meses de camarera.

Thanks, Mark

updated JUL 13, 2010
edited by Mark-Baker
posted by Mark-Baker

3 Answers


In my experience "llevar" + gerundio (present participle) is mostly used (and is the most common construction) for ongoing activities. e.g. "Llevo tres años estudiando/trabajando/viviendo ..." (The whole sentence could also be couched in the past e.g. "Llevaba tres años ..."

"hacer" + time-unit is used (mostly) to describe past events. e.g. "Hace tres años fui a Madrid." / "No lo he visto desde hace mucho tiempo." (or "Hace mucho tiempo que no lo veo."). The construction with "hacer" is particularly common when expressing the period of time when wasn't doing something (i.e. the interval since one last did something)..

updated JUL 4, 2010
posted by samdie

Good morning, Mark. It was nice talking to you last night. grin

I've heard "llevar" a lot more than I've heard "hace" to describe how long someone has been doing something (studying, living, etc.)

Your example, "Llevo dos años estudiando español" would be my preferred sentence to express that you've been studying for 2 years.

Look up "llevar" in a few dictionaries to get some good examples of how it's used. It's a very useful verb!

updated JUL 4, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
Hi Marianne....I hope we can chat more often since it was ever so nice to hear you last night. Many thanks for your answer - Mark-Baker, JUL 4, 2010

When I have asked native Mexicans a similar question ("¿Hace cuanto tiempo vive aqui?") I have often heard them answer "Tiene 6 meses," or similarly, using "tiene" as we do when stating someone's age in Spanish. I haven't heard the use of "llevo" like this.

updated JUL 4, 2010
posted by markheff
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